This time it was Du Fuwei's turn to have powerful and violent shock. His eyes shone with peculiar light, he looked at Kou Zhong. With disbelief in his voice, he said, "No wonder you, this little kid, are able to run amuck around the world. Unexpectedly you are able, from the sigh of sorrow evolving from the depth of my heart, to speculate the fact beyond the spoken words. This is simply impossible."
Smiling wryly, Kou Zhong said, "It's absolutely not because Child's ability and wisdom is high, rather, on one hand, I know Shi Feixuan is lobbying the warlords vying for supremacy all over the world, on the other hand, I know that your old partner Fu Gongyou is a demonic school man. I am even clearer that you, Lao Die, happen to have optimist mentality; hence I was guessing that you, the Senior, had just secretly met with Shi Feixuan today. Ay! Li Shimin has just gained one more piece of the rivers and mountains [i.e. country]."
Du Fuwei raised his cup and said with a laugh, "This toast is for me, Lao Die, feeling relieved from a burden, my entire body feels light, relaxed, and peaceful. Cheers!"
Kou Zhong happily clinked his cup to his and they both drained the cups in one gulp.
In astonishment, Du Fuwei sized him up with unusual expression on his face, trying to judge whether Kou Zhong's pleasure was genuine. He asked in surprise, "You seem to be genuinely happy for me. It doesn't make sense; you ought to be frustrated by Li Shimin's power increasing by the day."
Putting down his wine cup, Kou Zhong swept his gaze to look around at the other guests of the wine shop first before calmly said, "I am an open-minded person. Even if there is anything I should be worried about, it can wait until I finish drinking wine with Die to be bothered by it. Right now I just want to accompany Die drinking to your heart's content; I won't even ask about the particulars of Die's cooperation with Li kid, because I do not wish Die to feel distressed, angry, or awkward."
Du Fuwei slapped the table and said with a sigh, "You are worthy to be the person I, Du Fuwei, think highly of. Only by this you can obtain my compliment as an outstanding hero. Lao Die also has a few words from the bottom of my heart, I wish Xiao Zhong would want to calmly think it over."
Kou Zhong dejectedly slumped back into his chair, and said with a wry smile, "If Die wants to persuade Child to follow Die's example, Die may save your breath and use it to drink wine."
Du Fuwei smiled and said, "Du Fuwei may surrender, but how could Kou Zhong do the same? This is called nobody understands one's son better than his father; I just want to remind you, I hope you'll cancel your treasure-hunt trip to Guanzhong. Because, I don't know who broadcast the news, but nowadays nobody under the heavens does not know that you and Ziling are planning to go up north to Guanzhong. If you insist on going, it would be no different from walking right into the trap."
Gnashing his teeth in anger, Kou Zhong said, "Who else would be so meddlesome but Xiang Yushan and Yun Yuzhen? This must be their plot of borrowing someone else's knife to kill us. But whom should Ziling and I be afraid of?"
Du Fuwei sighed and said, "So what if you have Duke Yang's Treasure? Since ancient time, there has never been anybody who strived for the world by relying on buried treasure. If you still want to doggedly charge into Guanzhong just to flaunt the bravery of ignorant men, it would be just like a moth flying into the fire, following the path to your own doom!"
Kou Zhong calmed down; his countenance became grim without revealing the least bit of emotion. He spoke slowly, "My choice right now is either to kneel and beg forgiveness to Li kid, or to fight bravely to the end. And Die ought to know which option I will pick."
And then he was back to his mischievous look, and spoke with a smile, "My Niang! Child is already at the end of my rope. The only magic weapon is to see whether there is any treasure within the hidden treasure with which I can rise from the dead, for me to try my luck. Ha! The more difficult it is, the more Child is interested."
Frowning, Du Fuwei said, "It's not about whether it is difficult or not; it is practically impossible. Li Shimin's Tian Ce Fu [Heavenly Policy Mansion] surely has martial art masters as numerous as the cloud. There are numerous capable people serving under the Li Clan. If you still think that that is not enough, there are the two schools, Buddhist and Taoist, and the entire Wulin's 'white way' [i.e. orthodox, righteous] who are affiliated with Buddhist and Taoist schools; how can the two of you stand?"
Taken aback, Kou Zhong said, "Is Die hinting that Shi Feixuan might personally deal with us? Her relationship with Ziling is really not bad!"
Du Fuwei spoke heavily, "You just don't understand the style of Shi Feixuan's conduct; she made clear distinction between public and personal interest. Plus in the past, it was mostly out of pity that she was very tolerant toward the two of you, hence she did not stop persuading you with kind words; it could be said that she already done above and beyond the ways of the world, what extravagant demands can you ask of her?"
Speechless, Kou Zhong just looked at him.
Du Fuwei spoke indifferently, "Can you guess how I knew that you are in Jiujiang?"
Instantly Kou Zhong's scalp went numb. After staring blankly for quite a moment he said, "Are you saying that she told you?"
Smiling wryly, Du Fuwei said, "One guess and you got it. She wanted me to give you the final word of advice: do not go to Guanzhong."
Kou Zhong did not understand, "How did she know Die and child's relationship?" he asked.
Du Fuwei's eyes emitted a rarely seen emotion brimming with affection; he spoke tenderly, "Because I told her one of the conditions of my surrender to Li Shimin is that no matter under what circumstances, he must not fight directly with you or Ziling. This is probably what is called no matter how malicious a tiger is, it will never eat its own child!"
Shaken, Kou Zhong cried out, "Die!"
Du Fuwei laughed aloud and said, "Only this call 'Die' is coming from your heart. Laofu is greatly comforted."
And then his expression turned serious as he said, "Your, two boys' martial art skill has reached the great expert level. Even with Shi Feixuan's ability, she does not have confidence that she will be able to deal with the two of you alone, plus she frankly admitted that she does not have the heart to deal ruthlessly with you, but she simply must stop you from entering Guanzhong to seek for the treasure. Can you guess what means she is going to use?"
Exhaling a mouthful of cold air, Kou Zhong said, "Is she going to invite Ning Daoqi to make his move?"
Du Fuwei shook his head and said, "Ning Daoqi is the number one figure of the Taoist School, his rank and status is no small matter. Shi Feixuan, being from the Buddhist School, unless she does not have any other choice, would not easily disturb him, the Senior. My understanding is that due to your martial art coming from the Taoist treasury 'the Secret to Long Life', there are a lot of similarity with Ning Daoqi's; therefore, he had personally requested Ci Hang Jing Zhai to capture you alive and imprison you. After the Li Family pacify the world, then you will be released. From this, it is clear that he does not wish to personally deal with you."
Kou Zhong's countenance changed, he said, "My Niang! I would rather be killed than taken prisoner."
Du Fuwei could not help laughing, "This is the second time you are calling for Niang," he said, "I really don't know why."
Dejected, Kou Zhong said, "The only thing I want to do now is to advise Xiao Ling to quit this treasure-hunting game. He loves to be free the most; this is my own crime, I shouldn't put anybody at fault."
And then he asked, "Who is Jing Zhai's Zhaizhu [monastery master]? Is she going to lead a large number of Shigu Heshang [martial aunt (Buddhist) monk] to catch us?"
Du Fuwei shook his head and said, "Jingzhai's current Zhuchi's [manager/president] identity is mysterious. But within the Buddhist Schools, her position is equal to Ning Daoqi in the Taoist School; she would not easily go down the mountain to do the battle herself. From what I heard, Shi Feixuan hinted that she might invite the Four Great Holy Monks, so your calling your Niang is actually very appropriate."
If it were before, perhaps Kou Zhong would not even knit his brows, simply because he did not even know who the Four Great Holy Monks were. But just recently he heard from Xu Ziling that even Shi Zhixuan was beaten by the Four Great Holy Monks that he fled to the wilderness, and now he suddenly heard that the ones to capture Xu Ziling and him were precisely these four, it would be strange indeed if he was not shocked.
The Four Great Holy Monks were Tiantai School's Zhihui [lit. wisdom] Dashi [great master], Sanlun School's Jiaxiang Dashi, Huayan School's Dixin Zunzhe [honorable monk], and Chanzong Si Zu's [lit. Zen Buddhism Four Ancestors] Daoxin Dashi. These four plus Shi Feixuan or even Liao Kong, how could the two boys even have any chance to hit back?
Standing up suddenly, he said with a wry smile, "Child has an urgent matter that I need to discuss with Xiao Ling; Die, please take care of yourself! I almost forget to tell Die that Yin Gui Pai is sending a large number of troops to Jiujiang. Die must be extra careful."
Without saying a word Du Fuwei left some drinking money and accompanied him walking out of the wine shop. It was a relatively quiet night, foot traffic was light, increasing the somber feeling in the two men's heart.
The night breeze was blowing, Du Fuwei said, "As your Die, I feel so useless; after talking so many words I am still unable to take away Zhong'er's intention of going north. Shi Feixuan chose this time have Die warning you, it was actually a painstaking effort, because I do not wish the two of you going to Guanzhong, and then have a direct confrontation with the Li Family, resulting in an unresolvable deep enmity."
Kou Zhong sighed and said, "If I got so scared that I piss in my pants in terror, withdrawing my head and refuse to go out, how would I pass the days of the rest of my life?"
Shaking his head, Du Fuwei said, "You can't say that. In the past, Han Xin [(-196 BC), famous general of first Han emperor Liu Bang] was also forced to crawl between somebody's legs. This is called a leader can submit or can stand tall as required. As long as you get away, back to your headquarters in Pengliang, what can Shi Feixuan do to you? But if you do what you are doing now, sneaking into Guanzhong, you are only going to strike a stone with egg, or using praying mantis arms to stop a chariot. It is an action of overestimating your own capabilities!"
Strange light burst forth from Kou Zhong's eyes; he said, "If I can't overcome the enemy by force, then I'll have to outsmart them. There will always be a way."
While continued walking, Du Fuwei sneered and said, "Just by looking at how Shi Feixuan knows your whereabouts like the back of her hand, I knew that you have absolutely fallen into the disadvantageous position; all you can do is waiting to be captured."
Kou Zhong calmly laughed and said, "Die ought to understand better than anybody else. Since our debut, we have always taken a beating, and until today, the situation has not improved, while the people dealing against us and getting more and more formidable! As long as I can reach Guanzhong safely, I am afraid even Ning Daoqi would regard me as having enough qualifications to be his opponent."
Du Fuwei halted his steps. Throwing his head back in loud laughter, he said, "When all is said and done, Kou Zhong is still Kou Zhong. Let me give you one final advice: I am hoping that you can avoid the disgrace of being captured. Hereby we part."
Kou Zhong saluted respectfully, and left with determination. But he had just walked a few strides, Du Fuwei's voice came from behind, "There's one more thing that I forgot to tell my child, which is Li Mi formally acknowledge his allegiance to the Li Family, and had led his troops into the Pass [Guan]. This matter shook the world, and has increased the Li Family's prestige."
Shaken, Kou Zhong halted his steps. Smiling wryly, he said, "What other information is there?"
Du Fuwei's heroic spirit suddenly arose. He clapped his hands and sang, "Singing to accompany wine [fig. life is short, make merry while you can]; life is not much, just like morning dew, with passing days there are many miseries. Sighing with generous emotion, anxiety difficult to forget. Why worry? There is only Du Kang."
Du Kang was the deity the inventor of wine; it is thus clear that Du Fuwei had no intention of vying and pursuing Jianghu, he was only thinking of retiring and going into seclusion.
The singing voice disappeared into the distance.
Kou Zhong did not look back. He could feel the desolation in Du Fuwei's song, his heart was filled with myriad emotions.
Only an outstanding talent can recognize current trends. In this respect, he, Kou Zhong clearly fell short of his Old Dad Du Fuwei. But this was precisely life's most interesting aspect. From the impossibility striving to find subtle possibility.
Right now, the person he wanted to see the most was Xu Ziling.